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Mary's Little Lamb

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Each Christmas I preach on the birth of Jesus Christ. It seems fitting because Christmas is about Him! There is always this temptation or struggle to somehow make this fresh, amazing, powerful. I’m going to leave that in God’s hands today, (truth is I should leave it there every time.) Today I want to just take us through this narrative and look at how God presents to us His Son, Mary’s precious Little Lamb.
Follow along as we read that beautiful Christmas narrative…
Luke 2:1–20 NASB95
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

Christmas Frenzy!

'TIS THE SEASON TO BE jolly – so why are so many of us unhappy during what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year? (begins an article this last week in US News Magazine)
In a word: stress. According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, 38 percent of people said their stress level increases during the holidays. Another survey, by the investment firm Principal Financial Group, revealed that 53 percent of people feel financially stressed by holiday spending,...
Are you stressed this season???...
But suicide rates aren't the only way to measure unhappiness. The so-called holiday blues are real. Though they haven't been studied to any great extent, holiday stress and depression can strike anyone.
Time pressures
Family visits
But suicide rates aren't the only way to measure unhappiness. The so-called holiday blues are real. Though they haven't been studied to any great extent, holiday stress and depression can strike anyone.
Gift giving… is it the right gift… did I forget someone?
Politics, news, government uncertainties...
Details, details, details....
Consider the stress that could have been present that first Christmas...
False accusations and slander going around about you or your wife, the child she bears
Government has this ruler that is now of all times imposing a census… just so you can be taxed more!
Now you have travel plans, a baby coming… truth be told, no one is helping you due to accusations
You’re newlyweds hardly any money yet even with finances tight… travel you must
Traveling pregnant is a slower trip, you arrive late and Bethlehem is full of people
You sleep with the animals in the stable area
Now labor starts...
We look around at our own personal stress, we see the stress present at Christ birth… We cry out GOD! Please do something! And He gently and quietly points us to the manger… where His Lamb lays sleeping in the manger, in a powerful gentle way He reminds us, I did do something, He came for you!

What God Is Doing!

God is in charge and handling every detail...
Man may not see all God is doing Mary and Joseph, but God made your faithfulness clear and visible to all men, in every generation
No stress needed to make sure prophecy was fulfilled, God handled it
Caesar Augustus was ruling, but God was in control
Luke explains why a couple from Nazareth end up having the baby in Bethlehem!
Travel funds low Joseph? I’ll take care of that too, I’m guiding some Magi here to help fund your travels
Travel funds low? I’ll take care of that too, I’m guiding some Magi here to help fund travels
The stables, well God wanted to make sure some shepherds near by could come and see His Son, the Messiah
The manger… well no other baby is sleeping in one tonight, Jesus is going to be clearly identified as the Christ Child
I want them to feel comfortable to approach and worship Him (stables would be you know)
I know things are tight financially but I want those who are poor, maybe forgotten, and lowly to be able to approach My Son
It may be uncomfortable, difficult, but I have a purpose, I am in control!
Later Luke would record Jesus’ words in do not worry about your life
Why, because God is in control!

Christmas Focus!

All this points to the Christ Child! The lamb of God...
As John the Baptist would later state… “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
The Lamb… Good news, great Joy!
Not just for Israel… announced from His birth “for all people”
The Lamb born a King! (“in the city of David”) Bethlehem...
ot just for Israel… announced from His birth “for all people”
Birthplace of the sacrificial lambs
The shepherds would have been watching over these that night
The focus here is not on the shepherds, but on the One they go to see
How fitting God would send shepherds watching lambs that night to worship the Lamb of God
Born a Savior… The lamb of God would be the Chief Shepherd seeking the lost
Peace among men…among the frenzy…
I wonder if Luke sat down and listened to (now an old man who was once one of those young shepherds) the events of the shepherds.
This is what God made known to us… the Lamb of God
This is what we told people!
Really all we could do was Glorify and praise God!!!
What have you heard
What have you seen in our passage today
What will you share of this narrative with others
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